May 18, 2021
Commercial Observer

#50 MaryAnne Gilmartin

MaryAnne Gilmartin gives new meaning to the term “multitasking.”

In the space of nine months, the seasoned real estate developer entered and exited as Mack-Cali Realty Corporation’s interim CEO; launched her own firm, MAG Partners; got a development deal in Chelsea off the ground; and formed a strategic partnership targeting $3 billion in future deals.

Gilmartin earned her stripes at Forest City Ratner, climbing the ranks to CEO, a position she held for four years, and then formed L&L MAG with David Levinson and Robert Lapidus in 2018.

In July of last year, after a shakeup at Mack-Cali during which the CEO resigned, Gilmartin, who was on the board, took over as interim CEO. Gilmartin was confident she could turn things around at the company before handing it off.

“It’s not what I wanted to do when I grew up,” Gilmartin joked. “It’s not what I saw myself doing because of my partners, and my team, and [MAG Partners] being my first love.”

During her time as CEO, in her words, Gilmartin “upskilled the talent,” “pruned the organization,” and “revamped the leasing strategy” on Mack-Cali’s massive Jersey City waterfront project, bringing in a new leading head, and Mary Ann Tighe to consult on the project.

But lest we forget about MAG Partners, Gilmartin completed the buyout of her L&L partners in 2020, and made moves on her first standalone deal: a 479-unit multifamily development in West Chelsea, a site acquired and planned during the L&L days.

Gilmartin was actually close to closing on a construction loan for the site in early 2020, but the lender pulled back once COVID hit. Gilmartin decided to push ahead and find other sources of capital. She brought in foreign investors Atalaya Capital Management, Safanad and Qualitas as partners, and closed on a $173 construction loan in October. “It was pretty binary,” she said. “It was like, do you believe in New York City?”

That being said, Gilmartin is beginning to look to other cities where she can replicate some of her previous work in “placemaking” projects — large, mixed-use, urban development — such as Barclays Center and MetroTech in Brooklyn. “We like to say we’re placemakers, not developers,” Gilmartin said.—C.G.

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May 17, 2021
Commercial Observer

The Biggest Jumps of Power 100

MaryAnne Gilmartin is no stranger to Power 100. Not too long ago, she had been running Forest City Ratner Companies as CEO and president, where she developed The New York Times Building, the Frank Gehry-designed Spruce Street apartment tower, and Barclays Center, among other city gems. She left to start a development company with Rob Lapidus and David Levinson, and then decided that she could get all the funding that she needed on her own, so she bought out her partners.

Hence, MAG Partners.

It could have been very, very unfortunately timed, but Gilmartin wowed. Yes, at the beginning of 2020, one of her construction lenders pulled back from a loan, but she deftly managed to secure foreign investors. At the same time, Mack-Cali, where she was on the board, asked her to take over as interim CEO after the real estate investment trust pushed out the full-time one. 

She trimmed the REIT’s fat, revamped its leasing strategy, and brought in new people, restoring confidence at the New Jersey-based company.

That’s the kind of year that’s worth a major jump in the ranks, so Gilmartin slid up 22 spaces — our second-biggest jump of 2021. (The biggest was the leaders of Taconic, who went from 54 to 25, thanks to huge investments in life sciences.)

Unlike in previous years, there were very few shakeups. A lot of the Power 100s moved up or down a little (and a significant number were left off the list entirely).

As we do every year, a lot of attention is devoted to the smaller, but significant shifts.

JLL’s Peter Riguardi has always been one of the very best brokers in the city. … And we always felt that his ranking (last year, he was 22) indicated that. But, given the hustle and the 2.5 million square feet he leased during the pandemic, not to mention his work with clients in finding real estate around the country, it was worth moving him into the teens.

Tommy Craig was likewise a very respectable number 26 last year. But given that Hines, the New York-area operations of which Craig leads, had invested in One Vanderbilt and One Madison, was building luxury senior housing on the Upper East Side, and had taken on 5.5 million square feet of Ivanhoé Cambridge’s portfolio — which is not even mentioning their work in the Hudson Valley, and industrial development in Pennsylvania, and Hudson Square and … well, you get the idea. Craig broke into the top 10.

Last year, Rob Speyer was a highly respectable number 12. But given Tishman Speyer’s sudden hunger for SPACs (call it a “SPAC attack”?) and how much of the real estate world seems to be following suit, we felt that he should go even higher. How does number five feel, Mr. Speyer?

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